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  • Writer's pictureNat Sharp

Unlocking the power of customer research to drive business growth and improve service quality


Turning research into action - Transforming customer experiences and outcomes

The background:

Businesses often overlook investing in customer research, yet it's a crucial step towards success. In a world that has seen radical changes due to the pandemic and Brexit, staying abreast of customers' feelings is essential. However, it can be difficult to deal with price increases and supply chain disruptions while maintaining an awareness of customer needs.

The challenge:

Many businesses recognize the importance of conducting customer research for informed decision-making. However, it’s common for small businesses to neglect this crucial aspect due to a lack of resources. At Sharp Thinking, we understand that customer research is vital to maintain your competitive edge and advise businesses invest at least 5% of their budget in this area.

One of our B2B clients felt vulnerable amidst the sector's price increases and supply chain disruption. They were unaware of their customers' sentiments towards their business and required guidance to overcome these challenges. They specifically wanted feedback from their most valuable customers and from those that had the most potential and learn how they could improve their product and service.

“We wanted to get a live pulse of how our customers are currently feeling. We wanted to proactively get feedback from an external company to understand how our customers perceive and rate us and hear what we can improve upon.” Sharp Thinking customer

The solution:

Sharp Thinking recognised the need and value of the research, but provided it was conducted in a way that would be most practical for a small business. A simple methodology was devised blending qualitative and quantitative research techniques through Zoom interviews. The approach would allow us to build a rapport with the client's customers quickly and probe any interesting responses to gain even deeper insights. By outsourcing the research, Sharp Thinking were able to ask difficult questions, which the client could not. Consequently, customers were more likely to reveal their honest opinions.

Questions were carefully crafted to balance customer satisfaction with business development opportunities whilst enabling the collection of useful data for marketing purposes. Importantly, the research could deliver a lot of opportunities to the business for a relatively small investment. Sharp Thinking hoped to achieve a 25% participation rate with a small incentive, providing an adequately robust conclusion.

The results:

Our research empowered the client, providing a comprehensive analysis of their customers' attitudes and behaviours. And we exceeded our forecasted participation rates due to slick communication by our client and the strength of the relationship they already had with their customers.

The research findings helped them identify key areas for improvement and served as a springboard to grow and develop the business.

Our research resulted in the following outcomes for our clients, enabling them to:

  • Leverage 20 significant business development opportunities that had been identified with high value customers

  • Use 10+ approved testimonials for their marketing campaigns, using their customers' feedback as a central message in their marketing

  • Apply and implement dozens of key learnings and recommendations, which included enhancing their services, and moving into new markets

  • Reduce customer churn by identifying customers who were at risk of leaving and proactively put a plan in place

  • Obtain a net promoter score (a measure for customer satisfaction) for the first time, facilitating their ability to continually maintain and improve the customer experience

  • Share the research findings at their biannual company conference, motivating staff and acknowledging individual performance

  • Deliver the right message using the most appropriate language for each customer using the buying criteria that had been ranked by the customer and devise communication strategies

  • Mitigate risk with customers struggling with prices and market conditions

The insights gathered from our research provided our client with a solid foundation for their marketing strategy, leading to significant improvements and benefits across the business for business development, customer service, product development, marketing and the senior management team.

"The customer feedback we received was put together very well and Natalie came in and presented the project to the whole team. The information we have collated from the customer research is gold and as a business we can make the changes necessary to continue building and growing a successful company across the whole board. " Sharp Thinking customer

At Sharp Thinking, we have the skills and experience to help businesses improve business operations and performance by leveraging customer insights. This case study demonstrates our commitment to providing the best possible results to our clients. Also read how to get maximum value from market research and why small businesses must invest in market research

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